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Deadline looms on schools talks

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Public consultations on the closure threat hanging over three Dunstable middle schools are running through to April 7.

The whole community has been encouraged to have their say on the possible closure of Ashton Middle, Brewers Hill Middle and Streetfield Middle.

Separate consultations for each school began in February.

Heated public meetings have already been held at all three schools, as reported in your Gazette.

Central Beds Council’s children’s services overview and scrutiny committee will look at consultation feedback at a meeting on May 7.

Members of the public can attend that meeting, which starts at 7pm at Dunstable’s Grove Theatre.

Anyone who wishes to speak at the meeting must register their request in advance.

A report to the council’s executive committee has said the schools “have falling pupil rolls and are unviable”.

But any “viable” alternatives to closure would be considered.

Consultation feedback will be considered by the executive committee on May 27.

If the council decides to pursue closure of any of the schools, further consultation will take place.

Pupil age range changes are seen as leading to a shift from Dunstable’s long-established three-tier education system to a two-tier arrangement.

> All three schools have been working hard on survival plans, and have been running their own consultations on these alternatives to closure.

Ashton Middle has been consulting on potentially becoming a secondary school.

Brewers Hill Middle has been consulting on the idea of pressing ahead with plans to become an academy, developing over time into a centre offering early years/primary education and also creating a new 11-14 age group.

Supporters have launched a Save Brewers Hill Middle School petition.

Streetfield Middle hopes to become a primary school with a nursery provision, and aims to retain its specialist provision for children with autism.

> Check out Central Beds Council’s website via www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations and at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/admissions for information, documents and response forms, and to see frequently asked questions.

The admissions section has a link to information about Ashton Middle, Brewers Hill Middle and Streetfield Middle.

That includes details on how to register a request to speak at the May 7 meeting at the Grove Theatre.

 

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